Tag Archives: south ozone park

Alleged Resorts World Casino killer fatally shot by cops in Brooklyn


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Updated 2:28 p.m.

BY ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND ROBERT POZARYCKI

A 51-year-old woman was shot and killed in the parking lot at the Resorts World Casino early Tuesday morning by her ex-boyfriend, who was later killed in a shootout with police in Brooklyn, according to authorities.

The victim – Patricia Mohammed of East 39th Street in Flatbush – was shot multiple times in the torso by 51-year-old Dalton Branch at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park at about 2:20 a.m., police said. She was later transported to Jamaica Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

According to the Daily News, the incident occurred after Branch– a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident who was the victim’s ex-boyfriend and works for a charter bus affiliated with the casino– saw the 51-year-old woman kiss her new boyfriend in the casino’s parking lot.

Branch then reportedly opened fired at the woman and her boyfriend, who managed to escape unharmed, before heading back into his white Dodge Charger and fleeing to Brooklyn.

Officers assigned to the Queens Warrant Squad, while traveling in a white unmarked van, reportedly spotted Branch’s vehicle in a parking lot in the area of Stanley and Pennsylvania avenues at about 5:53 a.m.

When the three officers approached the car, Branch displayed a gun and fired several shots at the van, police said. The officers then exchanged fire, striking Branch multiple times about the body.

Paramedics rushed Branch to Brookdale University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police recovered a .380-caliber firearm and additional bullets at the scene.

The three officers involved in the shooting were treated at Jamaica Hospital for tinnitus.

An investigation is ongoing.

“Resorts World is heartbroken by the tragedy that occurred earlier this morning in the casino’s parking lot. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with the NYPD in the investigation into this incident,” said a Resorts World Casino New York City spokesperson.

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Student artists display work at JFK Airport


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of JFKIAT

BY ANGELA MATUA

John F. Kennedy International Airport became an art gallery for some South Ozone Park students who showcased their photographs in the airport’s Terminal 4.

A collection of photographs, taken by eighth-graders from Virgil I. Grissom Middle School (J.H.S. 226) last year, was unveiled on April 29 and will hang near the arrivals hall of the terminal.

Principal Rushell White said the objective of the project was to engage students in the college and career readiness aspect of the Common Core standards.

“It’s important for my students to be able to engage in the arts, which pique their interests, so that we can help them to make connections to their academic studies,” White said. “It feels amazing to have my students’ work displayed. There are many talented and gifted students who are just awaiting opportunities to showcase their gifts.”

The school partnered with JFKIAT, the company that operates Terminal 4, to provide students with space to highlight their photographs.

The students took photographs within a two-block radius of the Ozone Park school. They were advised by professional photographer Jeffrey Gamble to take photographs that would encourage the exploration of nature growing around them.

“Nature is all around us,” said Jeffrey Gamble. “It’s just the matter of training one’s eyes to see it. The question is to ask ourselves, ‘How can photography be used as a tool and a medium to enlighten these earthly creations and our new appreciation for them?’”

Student Marieya Jagroop took a picture of “a lovely pink flower [that] was heavily focused and contrasted very well with the sunlight,” she said.

“I felt very proud to have my picture displayed at JFK because I got recognition in a very unexpected way,” Jagroop said. “I got to experience things no other 13-year-old gets to.  I got to see the beauty in the smallest things, which makes me appreciate the world we live in.”

Her classmate Miko Hamilton chose to shoot a leaf changing colors from yellow to green.

Hamilton said he learned about taking photographs from different angels and how to edit them. Though he has no aspirations to become a professional photographer, he will always take photos as a hobby, he said.

Jagroop and Hamilton both said they saw the value of hard work pay off after realizing the recognition they received.

“I never thought I’d see my own picture plastered in an international airport for thousands of people to see,” Jagroop said. It’s been a year and my photography pictures have come back and they reflect who I am, so I definitely see this as a future internship or a side job.”

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88-year-old bicyclist dies following hit-and-run in South Ozone Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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An 88-year-old man who was hit by a fleeing driver as he was riding his bike in South Ozone Park last week has died, police announced Tuesday.

Mohamed Ali was riding his bike on the sidewalk along 131st Street near Rockaway Boulevard just before 1 p.m. on April 16 when a blue sedan struck him as the bicyclist entered the street, authorities said. The vehicle then fled the scene.

EMS rushed Ali to Jamaica Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

Ali’s family is hoping the driver, who is still at large, will be brought to justice soon, according to published reports. The South Ozone Park resident was an immigrant from Guyana and great-great-grandfather.

“If that person does come forward and they do try to redeem themselves or repent for what that person did, I think it would at least give some people some closure in this family,” one of Ali’s grandsons, Khalid Janeer, told WABC.

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New signs to point south Queens community in the right direction


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Phil Goldfeder

BY ANGELA MATUA

Whenever the next coastal emergency strikes, south Queens residents will no longer experience confusion when driving to their nearest evacuation center.

New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have installed new coastal evacuation center signage in south Queens and the Rockaways to direct residents to their designated evacuation center at John Adams High School in South Ozone Park, instead of Aqueduct Racetrack.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder contacted the DOT last May after residents were led in two different directions when trying to reach an evacuation center during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

Aqueduct Racetrack previously acted as the evacuation center before Resorts World Casino was opened in October 2011. After the casino was constructed, the center was changed to John Adams High School.

Though emergency personnel directed people to John Adams High School, the existing signage still pointed to Aqueduct. City evacuation plans and NYCEM city flood maps list John Adams High School as the zoned evacuation center but signage did not reflect the change.

Goldfeder reached out to the DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to request that the agency update and maintain designated evacuation routes and signs.

Signage was updated and installed in early April at 28 locations including cross sections on Beach Channel Drive, Cross Bay Boulevard, Rockaway Boulevard and Belt Parkway and will be maintained regularly by the DOT, according to an NYCEM spokesperson.

Goldfeder said these signs are crucial in ensuring the safety of all residents and thanked NYCEM Commissioner Joseph Esposito for playing a role in the installations.

“This change to our emergency evacuation route signage will save thousands of lives by helping direct families in the event of major disasters,” Goldfeder said. “Our community has had two major evacuations in the last four years. The vital information these signs provide is the key to keeping our families safe during emergencies.”

The repairs were done in time for the Atlantic hurricane season and NYCEM is preparing to relaunch the “Know Your Zone” hurricane campaign to encourage New Yorkers to find out if they live in a hurricane zone and what steps to take to plan ahead.

“Hurricane season is around the corner, and we want every New Yorker to be aware of what hurricane evacuation zone they live in and how they can get to their nearest evacuation center if necessary,” NYCEM Commissioner Joseph Esposito said.

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SUV crashes into South Ozone Park store


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of @NYScanner

An SUV slammed into a South Ozone Park discount store Sunday afternoon, injuring two people, reports said.

The vehicle crashed into the front glass wall of the Deals store about 4:30 p.m. at 109th Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park, according to WABC and the FDNY.

Two people were hurt and taken to Jamaica Hospital, fire officials said. Their injuries were reportedly minor.

According to CBS New York, the driver, who witnesses said appeared to be a woman in her 40s or 50s, may have confused the accelerator for the brakes. The driver has not been charged.

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Bandits wanted for towing away air pumps from Queens gas stations


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are searching for the airheads who stole self-serve air pump machines from 17 gas stations in Queens and Brooklyn since December.

In each caper the suspects used a hook and chain attached to a vehicle to yank the coin-operated devices from their pedestals, authorities said. Each of the air pumps contained hundreds of dollars in quarters and police believe the crooks got away with more than $40,000 in change combined.

A dozen of the thefts occurred in Queens, and security cameras captured one of the incidents which occurred at 6:35 p.m. on March 21 at the Sunoco gas station located at 128-24 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park.


Two men, described as white or Hispanic, were spotted in the video. Police said one of them, who was wearing a white shirt and blue jeans, was observed operating a blue Honda Accord.

The other Queens air pump thefts are as follows:

  • At 4 p.m. on Dec. 29, the crooks removed an air pump containing $800 in change from the Citgo gas station located at 91-02 South Conduit Ave. in Ozone Park. They returned to the location on March 1 at 3 p.m. and stole the replacement air pump, valued at $1,000.
  • On Dec. 30, at about 10 p.m., the bandits stole an air pump containing $200 from the Getty gas station at 70-21 73rd Pl. in Glendale.
  • At 8 p.m. on Jan. 12, the suspects removed an air compressor valued at $2,500 from the BP gas station at 130-11 North Conduit Ave. in South Ozone Park. They returned twice more to this location — at 9 p.m. on Jan. 28 and again at 10 p.m. on April 1 — and removed the replacement air compressors.
  • On Jan. 13, at about 6:59 p.m., the crooks removed an air pump valued at $2,000 from the Sunoco gas station at 162-35 North Conduit Ave. in Springfield Gardens.
  • At 12:20 a.m. on March 8, the bandits removed the air pump from the Global gas station at 49-25 Van Dam St. in Long Island City.
  • That same morning, at 2 a.m., the crooks yanked away the air pump machine from the Exxon gas station at 59-51 Long Island Expwy. in Long Island City.
  • At 8:26 p.m. on March 16, the suspects removed the air pump machine from the BP gas station located at 100-07 Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park.
  • At 9:26 p.m. on March 20, the perpetrators removed an unknown amount of change from the vacuum air machine at the Eagle service center located at 49-05 Astoria Blvd. in Astoria.

Among the five Brooklyn locations in the pattern was the Exxon GPN Boulevard gas station at 1193 Myrtle Ave. in Bushwick. The crooks removed the station’s air pump machine, valued at $700, at 9:08 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 2.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Elderly bicyclist struck in South Ozone Park hit-and-run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Updated Friday, April 17, 9:13 a.m.

Police are looking for the driver who hit an 88-year-old bicyclist in South Ozone Park Thursday afternoon.

The victim was riding his bike on 131st Street near Rockaway Boulevard at about 1 p.m. when a blue sedan struck him, authorities said. The vehicle then fled.

The bicyclist was taken to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition.

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Councilman Wills once again indicted on corruption charges


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

File photo

Councilman Ruben Wills is racking up quite a rap sheet.

The city councilman, who had already been indicted, was indicted again on Tuesday for charges alleging that he filed false financial disclosure reports. He pleaded not guilty.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Comptroller Thomas Di Napoli charged Wills with allegedly filing false documents about his finances to the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board. Elected officials in New York City must file these documents for public scrutiny and to guard against any potential conflicts between their personal and city business.

“Submitting false documents to the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board is a serious crime,” Schneiderman said.  “My office’s partnership with the comptroller is designed to combat corruption in the public sector, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the public trust is not undercut by public servants who are not truthful in their disclosures.”

Schneiderman and DiNapoli charged Wills with five counts of the class E felony of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. Schneiderman and DiNapoli claim that from 2011 to 2013 Wills purposely omitted certain financial dealings. If convicted, Wills faces up to four years in prison.

And the history between the state attorney and Wills goes back to 2014.

Back in May 2014, Wills, who represents the 28th District, which includes Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale and South Ozone Park, was indicted on charges by Schneiderman for allegedly stealing public campaign funds and using the cash for a Louis Vuitton handbag and shopping sprees at Nordstrom, Century 21 and other locales. He’s also accused of taking a $33,000 member item from since-convicted former state Sen. Shirley Huntley for his fake charity but pocketing most of it. Those charges are pending.

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Man arrested in deadly South Ozone Park shooting


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Police have arrested a man in a South Ozone Park shooting where one person was killed and another was injured while they were sitting in a parked car earlier this month.

Jiram Ali Suarez, 24, of Queens Village, is facing second-degree murder, robbery and criminal possession charges in the Jan. 6 incident, cops said.

The gunman fired at the two men as they were seated inside a Honda CRV on 130th Street near Old South Road at about 10 p.m., according to police.

John Pichardo, 19, of Brooklyn, was shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene. A 21-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the right leg, police said. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

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Two shot, one fatally, while sitting in parked car in South Ozone Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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One man was killed and a second was injured when they were shot while sitting in a parked car in South Ozone Park on Tuesday night, cops said.

An unknown gunman fired at the two men as they were seated inside a Honda CRV on 130th Street near Old South Road at about 10 p.m. police said.

One man, who has yet to be identified by police, was shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene. The second victim, a 21-year-old man, suffered a gunshot wound to the right leg. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he is listed in stable condition, cops said.

There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

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Jamaican singer Mavado surprises kids at South Ozone Park school


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

Children at a public school in South Ozone Park got a special gift this holiday season.

Mavado, a famous Jamaican singer, visited the school on Wednesday not only to perform for the students, but to also spread some knowledge of his own.

“You are the men and women of tomorrow,” he said to the crowd of kids as they were screaming and clapping in awe. “School is important. Make sure you stay in school.”

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The event took place at the J.H.S 226 Virgil I. Grissom school, located at 120-10 Rockaway Blvd. Children at the school who were on good behavior and had perfect attendance up to this point in the year got to see him.

He performed his hit song, “So Special,” for the children and had them sing along, expressing how special each and everyone of them are.

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Mavado hails from Jamaica. He has performed songs with singers and groups such as G-Unit, Nicki Minaj and Drake, among others. One of his latest hits was titled “Give It All to Me,” featuring Nick Minaj.

He said it is important for celebrities to give back to children who look up to them because they will soon be the leaders of the world.

“Children are the future,” he said. “They listen to our music and look up to us and will be the men and women leaders in the future, so it is very important [to give back].”

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Pair sought in armed robbery of South Ozone Park laundromat


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for two robbers who they say held up a South Ozone Park laundromat at gunpoint last week before getting away with just $216 in cash.

The two suspects entered the laundromat at 35-13 Lefferts Blvd. about 4 a.m. on Dec. 10 and forced a 19-year-old employee to the back of the business, cops said. One of the suspects then took a driver’s license and $20 from the employee while the other suspect grabbed $196 from the register.

The pair then fled northbound on Lefferts Boulevard and got into a white sedan, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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One injured in gas explosion at South Ozone Park home


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Updated Tuesday, Dec. 2, 9:14 a.m.

A stove mishap on Thanksgiving Day caused a gas explosion at a South Ozone Park home and left one person injured, fire officials said.

The 107-55 108th St. two-story dwelling exploded about 1:40 p.m. Thursday, according to the FDNY.

A man who suffered from burns, according to published reports, was taken to the hospital in serious, but non-life-threatening condition.

The location of the explosion was an illegally renovated apartment in the back of the house, according to fire and National Grid officials. An investigation showed that the resident was trying to light the stove when the incident happened.

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Robber followed 88-year-old home from Resorts World, stole casino winnings: DA


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

An 88-year-old East Elmhurst man who had just won $1,000 at Resorts World Casino was followed home, assaulted and robbed of his winnings, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Video footage and eyewitness accounts show Gregory Hillman, 57, of the Bronx, trailing the elderly man for more than an hour and a half and 10 miles before taking the cash, the district attorney said.

Hillman spotted the victim at the South Ozone Park casino on the afternoon of Oct. 31 as he was counting the $1,000 he had just won, according to Brown. He then followed the victim through the casino, onto a shuttle bus, through the subway system, into a supermarket, onto a Q47 bus and finally to his apartment building.

He allegedly came up behind the victim outside of the building to take his money. The two struggled and Hillman pushed the victim to the ground, causing him to hit his head on the pavement and eventually black out, the district attorney said. Hillman then grabbed his wallet, which contained the casino winnings, an additional $10 in cash and a credit card.

The victim was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for contusions and welts, a bump on his forehead and face, and scratches on his hands.

Hillman was arraigned on Saturday in Queens Criminal Court on robbery, assault and grand larceny charges, according to prosecutors. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

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Real estate roundup: Eight-story residential tower planned for downtown Jamaica, Queens eyed for juvenile offenders facilities


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bride/ PropertyShark 

Eight stories in downtown Jamaica

“Applications have been filed to begin construction of an eight-story and 31-unit residential building of 22,728 square feet at the vacant lots of 87-65 – 87-69 171st Street, in Downtown Jamaica; the site’s two-story predecessor was demolished in 2003, and M. S. Savani is designing.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Two Queens neighborhoods being eyed for ‘limited secure’ facilities for juvenile offenders

“The city is searching for sites in Queens to place a “limited secure” facility for juvenile offenders, the News has learned. Sources said locations in South Ozone Park and Jamaica are being studied.” Read more [New York Daily News]

Checking in on Tishman Speyer’s Long Island City project

“28-18 Jackson Avenue, which is part of Tishman Speyer’s plan to bring approximately 1,600 residential apartments to Long Island City, is completely covered in pipe scaffolding now.Construction crews put the pipe scaffolding up with in the last two weeks, and a permit filed on September 11 calls for the full mechanical demolition of the building.” Read more [The Court Square Blog]